The following quote we owe to Venantius
Fortunatus a contemporary of Radegund. We find it in his biography of her,
Vitae Sanctae Radegundis. This was published in Mon. Germaniae
Auctores antiquissimi, IV, 2, p. 41; see also MIGNE, PL 88, 502.
Radegund was a Thuringian princess who was
captured as a child by Clothaire I, a Frankish king, and later forced into
marriage with him, becoming one of his seven recognized wives. Clothaire
was a violent and unpredictable man. Radegund fled from court after the
King’s treacherous murder of her brother . . .
Source: Vitae Sanctae
Radegundis chapter XII, § 26 & 28
Veniens ad beatum Medardum Novomago, supplicat instanter ut
ipsam mutata veste domino consecraret. ... Sanctissima ... intrans in
sacrarium, monachica veste induitur, procedit ad altare, beatissimum Medardum
his verbis alloquitur dicens: Si me consecrare distuleris ... de manu tua,
pastor, ovis anima requiratur. Quo ille contestationis concussus tonitruo, manu
superposita consecravit diaconam.
Coming to blessed Medardus at Noyon, she begged him to
instantly ordain her as soon as she would have changed her dress . . . The most
holy woman . . . entered the sacristy, put on a nun's dress, proceeded to the
altar, and addressed the most blessed Medardus with these words: 'If you refuse
to ordain me . . . my soul will be required from your hand, O shepherd, as a
[lost] sheep.' Struck by the thunder of her statement, he
imposed hands on her and ordained her a deacon.
Radegund was anxious to escape
from her worldly and ambitious husband, King Clothaire of the Franks. She
wanted to devote her life to God. And by entering a monastery she would be
outside the King's reach, as nuns were generally protected under church laws.
So why did she also want to be a deacon? Did it give her more protection? Or
did she seek the ministry of women?
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